When labor costs more, employers invest more in training and equipment, which improves workplace morale and boosts productivity. When workers are taken care of, everyone benefits. The antagonism between business and organized labor is not inevitable.

But when employees are considered disposable, businesses can become less interested in protecting them.  Employees also may lack someone to intervene on their behalf with management on safety issues when there is no union representation.

When workplaces become organized, the need for cooperation becomes more obvious.  Companies recognize that they can take steps to make a stable workforce more safe, productive and effective, through training, better equipment, and making better use of their knowledge.  Unions, in turn, increasingly recognize the needs of employers to be responsive to customers and competitive in their markets.  In some sectors, having a company story that involves union workers and living wages may be a competitive advantage commercially.

“There’s a trend in many union companies, away from ‘us vs. them’ and towards ‘we’re in this together’.”Executive Officer, UWUA National